revised_tv_crime_article_jan_2016_002_.doc

In turn it is the importance accorded to action

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repetition of action that defines the novelty of the genre in cinema. In turn it is the importance accorded to action through repetition and its centrality to securing narrative resolution that in part delineates crime/action. Though it can seem somewhat camp today (the comedy, costumes, sentimental male friendship themes and misogynistic treatment of female characters all work to date the series), Starsky and Hutch was deemed troubling in its violence, objected to by concerned cultural commentators and reputedly by some involved in the production itself. 14 Certainly networks were cautious of alienating advertisers even as they courted a youthful demographic. From the third season onwards the series shifted towards an emphasis on lighter stories and a foregrounding of male friendship between the central buddy couple. The specific instance points to a wider issue for the genre around the controversial nature of crime and policing as a subject. Crime television – in particular network shows that depend on advertising revenues – negotiates a difficult terrain of taste and cultural value while exploiting topics such as sexuality, violence, death and social inequalities that inevitably tend towards controversy. Crime is frequently characterised as a conservative genre, in part due to its adaptation of grotesque violence for mainstream audiences, in part due to its typical insistence that crime can be solved, violence explained and justice done. NCIS and Action Crime Television While Starsky and Hutch did not have a particularly long run, action-oriented crime series would continue to be produced and to achieve ratings success. The replacement of Hawaii Five-O in 1980 with Hawaii-located Magnum P.I. (1980-1988) provides an obvious example, 7
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as does the atmospheric undercover crime series Miami Vice (1984-89). Both, albeit in radically different ways, foregrounded action as key components of the pleasures of crime television. Action was less prominent as a feature of crime drama through the 1990s with high profile instances of reality crime programming ( Cops ) and the procedural (notably the Law & Order franchise) but the twenty-first century has seen action taking on a greater prominence once more in espionage and military-themes series including 24 (2001-10) and NCIS . The latter has proven to be one of the most popular crime programmes on network television, generating two spin-offs NCIS: Los Angeles (2009-) which features a covert unit and has a greater emphasis on action than its DC based original and NCIS: New Orleans (2014--) which offers a more comic tone and foregrounds the musical heritage of its host city. I am not then attempting to argue here that all police dramas foreground action (although most feature it). Indeed as noted above there were fewer action-oriented crime shows on the networks through the 1990s, with dramas such as NYPD Blue and Homicide as well as Law & Order pushing the conventions in different directions, notably a greater emphasis on dialogue and debate over contemporary issues to do with crime and policing.I am however
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